Anyone who has perused my many Instructables will have noticed that they have been created on two continents: North America and South America. The "Outdoor Workshop Contest" has inspired me to share some photos of one of my bases of operation; My outdoor workshop (or "oficina") in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

First a bit about the term "oficina." In Spanish, it means what you might think; "office." But in Portuguese it has a different meaning, closer to the English word for "workshop." If your car breaks down in Brazil, you bring it to the mechanic's "oficina." (I learned this distinction the hard way when I lost my luggage once, and kept asking airport employees where the "oficina" was. They must have been thinking: "This crazy gringo just lost his luggage... What does he want a mechanic for?";-)

Over the years I've learned a few important things about getting a job done right and in a timely fashion. One is always try to use the right tool for a job when possible, and the other is that it's a lot easier to get job done when you know where all your tools and hardware are. It was this later point that led me to create my "oficina" a few years back, as I would spend more time looking for tools and hardware in various places, than actually building or fixing something. It would drive me crazy spending a half-hour looking for the right screw, only to spend more time looking for the right screwdriver!

Hence my outdoor workshop was born out of the desire to be able to store all my tools, hardware and bits and pieces in one place. It's amazing how much faster you can get things done when you don't spend time searching for a screw...

Step 1: Choose the right spot

For my purposes there were a few important criterion for setting up an outdoor workshop: I needed a space that would provide some shade from the often brutal Brazilian sun, and privacy from prying eyes on the street. It was also important that I be able to easily breakdown the workshop to move everything inside for safe storage, as the house spends many months of the year vacant.

The perfect spot was the under-utilized "área de serviço" or service area. This is a space that many if not most Brazilian homes have, where you can wash and dry clothes, and tend to other outdoor chores. As our "área de serviço" is rarely used, covered by a roof, and out of view from the street, it was the perfect spot!

My father-in-law built this cement framed storage area and sink attached to the side of or house some years back. He also built that terra cotta roof that covers it. ("Obrigado Moacyr!") It's great when we have people renting out the house, but when my wife and I visit, my mother-in-law is kind enough to provide all our laundering services, ("Obrigado Dona Helena!";-), leaving me with an under-utilized slop sink, and a perfect space for an "oficina."

As an Alaskan, I really appreciate your outside the box imagination. Because I grew up in villages without stores, I learned to look at things as how to make them work. (I reused pop rivets for years before learning it was "impossible"). I hope to see more intriguing projects. Wonderful inspiration!
<p>Nice work!</p>
<p>I am happy to announce the winner of my first &quot;win a free 3 month subscription&quot; contest is <a rel="nofollow">Robson Couto</a>, who successfully identified parts from six different projects I have posted to Instrucatbles, all strewn about my &quot;oficina&quot;, including: </p><p>1 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Steampunk iPod Classic case&quot;</a><br>2 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Plumber's lace-curtain luminaire</a>&quot;<br>3 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Steampunk solar night light</a>&quot;</p><p>4 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Gothic gargoyle solar night light</a>&quot;<br>5 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Decopunk USB lamp</a>&quot;<br>6 - &quot;<a rel="nofollow">Duct tape tilting window screen</a></p><p><em> Parabens</em> Robson, and I hope someday your dragon finds his flames;-)</p>
<p>Thank you!</p><p>You can be sure that I will really enjoy the subscription.</p><p>Congratulations for winning the Wheels Contest.</p><p>And about the dragon, I also hope that ;)</p>
<p>Obrigado senhor!</p>
<p>Bom trabalho amigo! &Eacute; sempre bom ter um espa&ccedil;o organizado para trabalhar ;)</p><p>Contra mim falo, j&aacute; que a minha garagem n&atilde;o est&aacute; propriamente arrumada... mas se serve como desculpa, tenho demasiadas coisas l&aacute; a ocupar espa&ccedil;o! Ainda assim ocasionalmente leva uma arruma&ccedil;&atilde;o a fundo e organiza&ccedil;&atilde;o adicional... Depois volta a ficar desarrumada uns meses, durante os v&aacute;rios projectos! ehhe</p><p>um abra&ccedil;o de Portugal!</p>
<p>Obrigado! Fico feliz em ver que a minha pequena oficina brasileira &eacute; agora mundialmente famosa;-)</p>
<p>A very great project.... This should be an inspiration to others to set up similar stands for repairs.... Double plus good.....</p>
<p>double plus good.....</p>
<p>Parab&eacute;ns pelo trabalho cara !! ficou bem legal !!</p>

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